PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Pinellas County Department of Health is warning people about red tide blooms along Tampa Bay coast.
At Indian Rocks Beach, CW44 News At 10’s Casey Albritton saw children pick up dead fish over and over along the shore and heard a lot of people coughing because of red tide, but beach goers say as long as the coughing doesn’t get too bad , it’s not going to stop them from coming out to the water.READ MORE: St. Pete Pier Hosts 1 Year Anniversary Event With Drone Light Show
Nash Furman was visiting the beach with his mother on Friday and says “There’s been dead fish that have been washing up. I saw one right there a few minutes ago when we were in the water.”
One of Furman’s favorite summer activities is going to Indian Rocks Beach, but right now, it doesn’t look the same.
“Disgusted, it’s disgusting,” said Furman.
But dead fish isn’t the only issue.
Barbara Carmichael, a beach-goer, says “At first we thought it might be a little bit of allergy, but it’s obvious we were that we were listening to the coughing of the people around us. That it wasn’t just us, it wasn’t isolated.”
Leah Burger, another beach-visitor, says “It’s not too bad. When you first get on the beach you cough a little bit.”
It’s all because of a red tide blooms along the coast. Red tide blooms are phytoplankton or microscopic algae that can kill fish and make shellfish dangerous to eat. Pinellas County Department of Health released a statement Friday morning that the red tide bloom can cause some people to have mild eye, nose, or throat irritation, and for Carmichael and her sister, that caused them to leave the beach early.READ MORE: Alpharetta Man To Sue Police Over K-9 Attack, Alleged 'Misuse Of Force'
“It’s sad you know. She comes from Guatemala and I was like ‘oh, our beached are beautiful,’ and it’s not where it normally is,” said Carmichael.
Residents say they believe red tide could be worse this year because of the recent Piney Point spill that leaked hundreds of millions of gallons of contaminated water into Tampa Bay.
“I think perhaps what happened down in Manatee County could have something to do with it because no matter what you are disturbing the natural eco of our waters,” said Carmichael.
Earlier in May, scientists at USF, announced the spill had produced phytoplankton blooms, but that they were decreasing and the water contamination was being diluted.
“The ocean is a big eco-system so I’m sure they are connected in some way,” said Burger.
And Furman says he just hopes the ocean gets back to normal soon.
“Make the red tide go away!” said Furman.MORE NEWS: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office Participate In Florida Association Of Police Explorers State Competition
Health officials say if you have respiratory issues or asthma, you probably should stay away from the beach as much as possible right now. They are asking people to not swim around or eat the dead fish. They also say residents who live near the beach should close windows and run the air conditioners.